Selling a Home in Louisville, KY, or Southern Indiana

WE KNOW THE LOUSVILLE, KY, AND SOUTHERN INDIANA REAL ESTATE MARKETS.

It has always been our firm belief that we can best serve our clients with in-depth knowledge of a small market vs. a little knowledge of a wide area. Jeffersonville is a unique and diverse community. Each neighborhood has its own character. Each neighborhood appeals to a different buyer. To obtain the highest possible sales price for your home, the marketing must reach the right buyers with the right message. We have the network and experience to do this.

WE HAVE THE CREATIVE TALENT TO SHOWCASE YOUR HOME.

The old adage, "You can't judge a book by its cover" is passé today. This is a fast-paced, image-oriented society in which we live. First impressions really do count! Every piece of information on your property, whether it be a brochure, the wording in the Multiple Listing Service, a presence on the Internet, or a well-placed advertisement, must show your home in the best possible light.

During all phases of a listing from the initial paperwork and promotion through the very last details of the closing, we personally attend to all of the details. As a result, the large majority of our transactions come through referrals and repeat business.

Top 10 Ways to Enhance Your Home's Curb Appeal
From HGTV and Fran Evola

Make buyers or your neighbors say “Wow!” before they're even through your door with these 10 tips:

#1: Spruce Up Your Lawn

You only have one chance to make a first impression on buyers, and you don't want to make it with a patchy, unkempt lawn. Before putting your home on the market, take some time to whip your yard into shape. Do as much as you can based on your budget and timeline: If you're stretched for cash, start by keeping the lawn mowed, raking up leaves and pulling weeds. If you can fit it in your budget, have your soil tested for any chemicals needed to promote healthy grass and reseed bad areas.  Trimming your shrubs and trees is another low cost improvement.

#2: Clean and Declutter

The fundamental rules of staging also apply to your home's exterior. You want buyers to focus on your home -- not your lawnmower, the kids' toys or your extensive collection of lawn ornaments -- so these distracting items should be stowed out of sight before you show your home. Once the clutter is cleared away, your next objective is a spick-and-span exterior. Remove grime and cobwebs by pressure washing your home's siding, and clean your windows inside and out. The windows are the eyes to the soul of the home.

#3: Add a Focal Point

A tidy lawn will impress homebuyers, but a vibrant lawn will really wow them. Adding colorful flowers and plants is one great way to make an average yard pop. For an easy, inexpensive fix, install flower boxes in your windows or place low-maintenance, potted plants around your front door. If you have a green thumb, look into attractive perennials and evergreens that thrive in your region. Besides adding flowers, you can also liven up your landscaping by incorporating eye-catching accent pieces, such as a water feature or an arbor.

#4: Refresh With Paint

If your home's exterior looks a little dull, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders. Be sure to choose colors wisely: Muted, earth tones are usually a safe bet, but you should take a drive around your neighborhood to see what's standard. If you don't have the time or money to paint the entire house, freshen it up and add a splash of color by painting the shutters, trim and railings.

#5: Light It Up

Not only can outdoor lighting highlight your home's best features, it can also provide safety and security at night, a feature potential homebuyers will appreciate if they tour your home after dark. Landscape lighting used to be difficult and expensive to set up and maintain, but pre-packaged lighting kits now cost as little as $40 and only take an hour or two to install. Consider adding decorative lighting along walkways or flood lights over entrance areas to brighten up your home.

#6: Focus on the Front Door

If you want to get potential buyers through your door, your front entry should be the main focal point of your home's exterior. A new door can be a great investment, but you can also make a dramatic difference just by adding a fresh coat of paint to your existing door. A vivid red or blue that stands out against the rest of your home can really create an eye-catching entrance. Complete the look with a new welcome mat, a seasonal wreath and a new or freshly polished doorknob.

#7: Home in on Details

If the thought of overhauling your home's exterior sounds overwhelming, take a deep breath and find comfort in this: Many of the most effective ways to add curb appeal to your home are both easy and budget-friendly. Small updates like a new mailbox, distinctive house numbers or stylish door hardware can make a big difference in your home's exterior appearance. When choosing these items, make sure they complement the style of your home for a pulled-together look.

#8: Inspect Your Gutters

While you probably won't find homebuyers oohing and ahhing over your well-maintained gutters and downspouts, these features do send an important message about the rest of your home. If your gutters are overflowing with leaves and other debris, buyers will think you've slacked off on interior maintenance as well. Gutters that are in good shape may just need a thorough cleaning, patching and rehanging, but if you notice signs of water damage or mold on your home's exterior, your gutters may need replacing. Consider vinyl gutters, which are an inexpensive, DIY-friendly option, or galvanized steel gutters, a trusted choice for their durability.

#9: Address Driveway and Walkways

Often overlooked by sellers, driveways and walkways play the crucial role of leading buyers to your front door, effectively setting the tone for every tour of your home. At minimum, you'll want to repair cracks in your driveways and walkways to make a good first impression. If you have cash leftover, consider upgrading typical asphalt with a higher-end material, such as stone or brick pavers.

#10: Restore the Roof

Your roof is the most important part of your home's weatherproofing and insulation system, but it's also a crucial element of your home's exterior appearance, and buyers will notice if it's in bad shape. Start by replacing or repairing missing and broken shingles -- not only do these look shabby, but they expose your roof to water damage and rot. Roofs generally last 12 to 20 years, so if yours is nearing the end of its lifespan, consider replacing it. Composite asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material, but wood or clay shingles offer a unique, higher-end look.  There are also companies that will treat your shingles if you have those ugly black stains on them.

Be a good neighbor.  If you have an elderly neighbor, considering doing a couple of these items for him or her, or offer to assist them with the chore of their choice.

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to improve your curb appeal.  812-288-6080

Are you a hoarder?

Be honest!

  • Do you have clothes that you can't or won't wear?
  • Do you keep books you've already read?
  • Do you have things you are keeping so your children can have them later?
  • Do you have photos of people you can't name?
  • Do you have dishes, pots and pans, bake ware, utensils, glasses, etc. you haven't used in years?
  • Do you keep things that are broken, even after you have replaced them?
  • Do you have projects that you started but haven't finished?
  • Are your closets, drawers, cabinets, garage, attic, and basement full of stuff you don't actually use each year?
  • Do you have family keepsakes in boxes?
  • Do you keep stuff because it has a use rather than because you need to use it?

Every item you own takes up space in your life and comes with a commitment. You must dust it, clean, it, polish it, display it, fix it, organize it, feed it, utilize it, or give up some of your space to store it.

The 3-Step Cure for Hoarding: Trash, Donation, or Sale

Tackle only one small area at a time, for instance a drawer. Have a black trash bag, a white donation bag, and a "to be sold" box. Handle each item  only once. Make a decision on each item. Only the things you need to keep go back in the drawer. The drawer will look great! Enjoy it. Now move on.

Take out the trash and deliver the donations immediately, or at least put the white bags in your vehicle for delivery to a donation center at your earliest convenience. Don't forget to make a list and a tax receipt.

The "to be sold" box is the toughest.  Make that decision and move forward on it.

Schedule a yard sale.

Consign the items.

Sell them on the internet or Craigslist.

Drawer by drawer, cabinet by cabinet, and closet by closet, you will de-clutter your life and feel free of that sense of being overwhelmed.

Take back your space!

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to improve your home.  812-288-6080

Check your curb appeal

When I drive around looking at houses, I do notice that some houses have great curb appeal and others look absolutely neglected.  Most are somewhere in between.

Curb appeal is one of those intangible aspects of your home.  What makes good curb appeal?  There are many shows on HGTV about it.  If your home doesn’t have it, that would be a great place to start to try and discover some little tips for adding that little something that makes people give your house a second look.

The kinds of things that affect good curb appeal in my opinion are pleasing colors, where the brick or siding and the trim complement each other.  Maybe the door is a nice contrasting color without sticking out, or the shutters enhance the overall look.  Always, the landscaping looks neat and cared for.  There seems to be a plan to the landscaping, without it hiding the entire front of the house.

Neglected shrubs and trees definitely detract from a house’s appeal.  I suggest you drive by your house from both directions.  Take notice of what others see.  Aren’t there a couple small things you could do to improve it?  In a few minutes, you might be able to really make a difference!

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to improve your curb appeal.  812-288-6080

Downsizing? Don't overdo it!

So you are ready for a smaller home but have you really thought through what you can live without?

It might help to walk through your current house and make a list of what you don't really need:

  • Formal dining room
  • Extra bedrooms
  • Large yard
  • Family room
  • Second floor

And a list of items you won't need:

  • Furniture
  • Collections
  • Clutter
  • Lawn equipment
  • Decorations
  • Books

If your second list isn't very long, you will just end up with the same stuff in less living space, so you aren't ready to downsize.

If you are ready, be careful that you don't overdo it. You can't add a basement later.

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on the downsizing process.  812-288-6080

Estate Sales / Tag Sales - we do that!

For Sellers:  Is your house overloaded with stuff and you don’t know where to start?

For Agents:  Is your upcoming listing full of personal property?

Lots of folks feel overwhelmed by items that need to be sold but they aren’t able - or don’t want to- do the sale themselves.

We can do an estate or tag sale.  We make it easy for you!  We sort, wash, organize, research, price, set-up, display, advertise, staff, sell, clean up, and leave the property broom clean/ vacuumed.

The buyer can pay by cash or credit card. You get your money within one week of the sale.

Call us for details!

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited and McGinnis Auction & Appraisal, is always available to consult with you on your options.  812-288-6080

Out of control landscaping

Are you unintentionally sending a message to your potential buyers?

Overgrown shrubs, unruly trees, crowded flower beds, and weedy gardens scream out, "This yard requires too much maintenance!"

Buyers are looking for low-maintenance homes and the yard is an element of that. You can take away this issue by simply cutting back, trimming, mulching, and weeding all around your home. If they don't see weeds, they will think there aren't any. Make it look easy, even if it isn't.

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to improve your curb appeal.  812-288-6080

Should I move to assisted living?

If you want to transition into Assisted Living but you are feeling overwhelmed, we can help you figure out where to begin.

Make the decision first - then make a plan.

Concentrate on visiting different facilities and talking with as many residents as possible.

Ask yourself some questions:  What do you like to do with your free time? Do you want an active lifestyle? Do you need transportation? Would you enjoy outings? Will you need levels of care later? Do you want to cook or prefer to eat in a dining room?

After you decide where you wish you move, it will be easier to make a plan. One of the easiest ways to transition, is to just go ahead and move. Then wait a while. You will perhaps have taken too many belongings, or, maybe you do have room for a cherished item you thought wouldn't fit. Make some adjustments and make sure you've made the right decision before you tackle the former residence. Decide how much you can do yourself.

Then, investigate your options:

  • Sell or auction your personal property.
  • Sell or auction your real estate.

Some firms can handle both personal property and real estate, and you won't have to do a thing.

Talk to several people about listings, auctions, tag sales, internet auctions, and yard sales. Decide what's best for you.

Then let go and enjoy your new low-maintenance life-style!

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to transition to a new lifestyle.  812-288-6080

Should I sell my house or rent it out?

You may not have a choice.

If you have enough equity, you probably should sell it.

If you owe more than you can net from a sale, you have the following options:

  1. Bring money to the closing
  2. Pay down your mortgage or pay off a second mortgage
  3. Pursue a short sale (see short sale info)
  4. Keep it and rent it out

If you choose to keep it and rent it out, you can manage it yourself or hire a property manager. You must decide if you have the right personality and skills to deal with tenants.

Definitely hire a property manager if you are moving out of the area!

Hopefully, our market will improve and someday you can sell the property at a higher price.

This topic involves a legal matter.  Please seek the advice of an attorney specializing in real estate, in the state where the property is located.  We are happy to provide a list of attorneys, if you need to consult with one.  You may also wish to consult with your CPA on tax ramifications.

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on your options.  812-288-6080

 

To FSBO or not to FSBO.

You can place a "For sold BY Owner" sign in your yard and try to sell your home yourself and save the real estate commission.

A buyer can try to find a FSBO to buy so he can buy for less since the seller isn't paying a real estate commission.

Each party is trying to save the same amount of money.

FSBO advantages:

  • May save commission
  • Controls the advertising
  • Knows the property best

FSBO disadvantages:

  • May lose money
  • Buyers don‘t know the FSBO's
  • FSBO’s can’t answer all the buyers’ questions
  • FSBO's can accept offers that can't work
  • FSBO's have to show their home
  • FSBO's don't know the buyers
  • FSBO's don't know the contracts
  • FSBO's bear all advertising expense
  • FSBO's lack negotiating skills
  • FSBO's are emotionally attached
  • FSBO's have to take the calls

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with your options.  812-288-6080

Where to start - Just make a list!

You know all the little (or big) quirks about your house.

Go from room to room and make a detailed list, one page per room.

Make the items small enough to accomplish in an hour, if possible.

Then, make a list in the garage, the basement, the attic, the shed, etc.

Lastly, go outside and make a list.  You may need one for the front yard, back yard, side yard, garden, etc.

Then, you are ready to begin getting your house ready to put on the market.

Select a page of items. Some folks choose the most difficult items first. Others choose the easiest items and work their way through the list. Either way, there's a great sense of accomplishment when items are checked off.

Give yourself enough time; it could take days, weeks or months, but it will make a lot of difference!

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on what to put on the list.  812-288-6080

Top 10 Legal Mistakes Home Sellers Make (January 28th, 2013 by Robert MacLean)

  1. Accepting the buyer with the highest offer without regard to the other contractual terms. Just because a buyer has offered the highest price does not mean that it will net you the highest amount in your pocket. In this market of rising prices, appraisals have become an issue.  Asking a buyer to remove their appraisal contingency means that they are going to buy the house at the offere price regardless of what the appraisal comes in at.
  2. Not properly handling multiple offer situations with multiple buyers.
  3. Not properly handling back-up offers.
  4. Entering into an agreement with no earnest money deposit, or a very small amount.  Asking for an earnest money deposit of at least 3% of the purchase price shows that the buyer is serious and if they were to back out after removing all the contingencies the seller could retain the deposit. (seek the advice of an attorney if this occurs)
  5. Entering into an agreement before verifying the buyer's financial ability to close escrow.  You don't want to go in and out of escrow.  Don't take the buyer's word that they have the money.  Verify all bank statements that they are current and that there are liquid assets in the accounts.
  6. Not disclosing known material facts affecting the value or desirability of the property. Nobody wants to go to court.  Always disclose all facts that affect the value of the home (flight patterns, noises from dogs, trains, etc.).
  7. Not providing the buyer with legally required disclosures.
  8. Not obtaining the buyer's written acknowledgement of disclosures. Don't make it about he said, she said.  Always get everything in writing, signed and dated.
  9. Not considering whether to require the buyer to remove contingencies (in writing.)
  10. Not excluding items from the sale that the seller wants to keep. If you want to keep anything in the house that is bolted down or could be considered part of the home (plants, tv's, window coverings) write it up in the counter offer that they are not to be included with the sale of the home.

Fran Evola, Principal Broker for Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult about these and other issues that sellers frequently encounter.

Frequesntly Asked Questions:

Sellers - What do you charge to sell my house? 

At Real Estate Unlimited, we have no set commission rate for listings.  It all depends on so many factors.  We suggest you sit down with the agent you are interviewing for the job.  Talk about topics like what your expectations are, how quickly you wish to sell, whether you are planning to purchase another home through that agent, how much you are willing to do to prepare your home for sale, how flexible you will be about showings, how your home realistically compares with your competition. 

Sellers – How long is the listing?

This is another negotiable item.  We usually prefer to list for no less than six months, sometimes longer, if you wish to start at a high price. We will work hard for you but we have to have a real opportunity to sell your home for you.  Listing it at too high a price for the market doesn’t accomplish your goals or ours. 

Sellers - How do I find out what my house is worth? 

We will assist you by finding comparable houses that have sold in the last six months or so, as well as those that are still on the market.  Considering each comparable house in regard to how it compares with your house, it’s size, bedrooms, baths, age, construction, condition, floor plan, yard size, garage, basement, limitations, plusses and minuses, will assist you in finding the correct price range for listing and selling your house.  If there is a shortage of comparable similar homes that have sold, we may suggest that your hire an appraiser to do a limited appraisal.

Sellers - Do you do appraisals?

We have an appraiser that is affiliated with the company.  We can give you several names of reputable appraisers to contact.

Sellers - What is a BPO?

Broker’s Price Opinion.  It is a form of limited appraisal done by a real estate agent, for a fee, usually requested by an asset manager.  It can be a drive-by or interior style BPO.  BPO’s are usually ordered when owners get behind on their mortgage.

Sellers - Why hasn’t my house sold?

The answer is almost always the same – the price.  If you reduced the price of your house by 50% today, wouldn’t it be sold by tomorrow?  You don’t really need to reduce the price by 50%, but an appropriate, regularly scheduled price reduction on a weekly or bi-weekly basis will create activity and offers.  Examples would be a $500 reduction on a house priced at $50,000, a $1000 reduction on a house priced at $100,000 or a $5000 reduction on a house priced $250,000.  It all depends on how quickly you wish to sell.

Sellers - Where do you advertise?

The answer depends on the property.  All our listings are adverted on the Multiple Listing System that is appropriate to the property.  From the MLS, our listings go out to Realtor.com, Homes.com, Trulia, and many other sites.  We also may place ads in local papers for open houses.  Some listings may get advertised in such publications as Business First, The News & Tribune, Landmark Press, or Homes Magazine style publications.  Additionally, we may utilize flyer boxes on the sign.  Everything is done to maximize the chances of the property coming to the attention of the potential buyers that might be interested.

Sellers - Do you hold open houses?

On some properties, an open house may be an appropriate activity.  Open Houses are most effective when the property is located in an easy-to-get-to location (not too many turns), has good curb appeal (otherwise no one may stop to see the inside), and is priced to sell.  The seller should not be home but should leave the property clean, neat inside and outside, and smelling pleasant.  Be sure to take any small valuables or prescriptions medications with you.

Sellers – What if I choose to rent my house out?

If you list your home for sale with us and later choose to keep it and rent it out, you will owe whatever is agreed upon in the listing agreement.  We can assist you with the rental, if you prefer, or you can handle it.

Sellers – Do you manage rental property?

Some of our agents will agree to manage your rental property.  It requires a Property Management Agreement.  It will spell out what the Property Manager is responsible for and what the Landlord is responsible for.  It will also include the compensation agreement. 

Sellers – What is a short sale?

Short Sales are sales in which the seller’s lender agrees to take less than is owed on the mortgage.  Why would the seller’s lender agree to this?  To avoid a foreclosure, which costs a lot of money for attorney fees, etc. and can take a very long time; sometimes years.

Sellers – What is a deed-in-lieu-of foreclosure?

This is a legal term used when an owner deeds back to the bank their interest in their home.  This is used when a seller can’t pay their mortgage and wishes to make it simpler and cheaper for the bank than a foreclosure would be.

Estates - Do you handle estates?

We often work with estates.  This usually involves coordinating with the Executor or Administrator, the Estate Attorney and the CPA. What we can do includes, appraising the home and contents,  itemizing contents, conducting auctions or estate sales, cleaning, sorting and preparing items for sale,

Estates – Do we need a lawyer?

Yes, you should consult an Estate Attorney, who will guide you as to what needs to be done and by whom. There are certain deadlines to be met.  The law is changing very rapidly.  You shouldn’t assume that things are the way they were, even if you have handled an estate before.

Estates – Do you appraise personal property?

Yes, we do certified personal property appraisals.  They can be tailored to fit the needs of the situation.  We can appraise as few or as many items as you wish.  We normally charge an hourly fee, depending upon how much research, documentation and travel is required.

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